X Factor finalist Christopher Maloney claims he has been “bullied” and subjected to a “witch hunt” since finishing third on the TV talent contest.
The 38-year-old from Liverpool was voted off the show on Saturday, when he secured fewer votes than eventual winner James Arthur and runner-up Jahmene Douglas.
He did not appear in Sunday’s final, prompting speculation he had turned up with a hangover for rehearsals and insulted a fellow contestant.
The Liverpool singer found himself at the centre of a backlash on Twitter, when Carolynne Poole, who left the show in week one, retweeted a message from Christopher, which read: “@CarolynnePoole you’ll do anything to get a headline! Disgraceful! Week one! Bitter.”
Later, Maloney tweeted : “Thank u @TheXFactor had a wonderful time. An amazing experience. Love u all. Sorry I had a sore throat an doctor signed me off. Good luck x.”
He told fans to “take no notice” of newspaper reports, accusing them of writing “sensational headlines”, before posting: “Yes I am being bullied! Big time. There u go xx witch hunt xx.”
He later added: “Thank u all so much for ur love help and support. Thinking everyone wants a final dig. Disgusting xx love u na nite xx.”
Maloney was voted in as the show’s wildcard during the first week, securing 63.5% of the vote.
Figures released by ITV revealed he won the highest number of votes for each of the first seven weeks, only to fall behind Arthur and Douglas as the show — now in its ninth series — drew to a close.
It now appears Maloney could be cut from the X Factor live tour, thought to be worth up to £120,000 (€149,000) to each contestant.
Arthur, 24, from Saltburn, near Middlesbrough, said he was eager to release an album “as quickly as possible” and had written some tracks.
He told ITV’s Daybreak: “I’ve got a lot of material to go so now as soon as I get back into the studio I’ll be ready.”
Arthur, 24, sang the praises of fellow finalist Douglas, 21, saying: “Jahmene is world-class. That guy is going to do phenomenally well off the back of this competition because he has had a chance to showcase just how amazing he is.”
Arthur, whose single ‘Impossible’ is already No 1 in the iTunes chart, said: “It is starting to sink in, I was overwhelmed.”
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